Close to 100 at Gold Camp Rd. open house

       Gold Camp Road could stay closed to cars between Tunnel 3 and Old Stage Road. Or it could have two lanes of auto traffic. Or it could have something in between.
       The U.S. Forest Service showed no sign of leaning to one side or the other at an open house/meeting July 7 at which people had a chance to consider six management plan “concepts” for the 8.5 miles of disputed road. Hikers walk up the closed-off section of Gold Camp Road below Tunnel 3 recently.
       A total of 97 people signed in at Cheyenne Mountain High School during the four-hour event. The number was six less than the total at the first public meeting in May, according to Frank Landis, outdoor recreation planner for the Forest Service.
       He said he knows there are two main factions on the issue - those who want the historic road to Cripple Creek closed to cars and those who don't - but is hopeful that in seeing the different options, people might start moving toward a “happy medium ground, where both sides give up a little.”
       The road was originally a rail line in the Cripple Creek gold-rush days, but the 8.5-mile section has been closed since 1988 because of a partial collapse in its Tunnel 3.
       The Concepts were identified as A through F: A - no action; B - stabilize the tunnel with minimal changes; C - partially open road to motorized use; D - open road to motorized use with one-way traffic; E - fully open road; F - open road and improve adjacent trails. Five “variations” of road-use possibilities are also suggested within Concept E.
        More detailed planning will not take place until a Denver consulting firm, working with the federal agency, develops an environmental impact statement for public review in October, Landis said.
       The Forest Service will continue to take comments - even from people who did not come to the the July 7 meeting - at least until mid-August. After the May meeting, Landis said he received 300 public comments. The number to call is 477-4023.
       On Aug. 7, there will be a “planning workshop,” again at Cheyenne Mountain High, at which attendees will be asked to form into subgroups to consider the pros and cons of the different concepts, Landis said.

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